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Is a table saw worth it? The truth


A table saw is not an inexpensive tool to have in your workshop. So it stands to reason that if you’re considering purchasing this type of saw, you might be wondering, is a table saw worth it?

In short, if you need to cut a lot of wood lengthwise and do it accurately, a table saw is well worth the investment. However, if you only need a table saw once, this is an extremely costly purchase.

However, in order to answer this rather difficult question, several factors must be considered. This article will teach you everything you need to know to find the best and most personalized solution. With all of the information available here, you will gain insights that you may not have considered before, and this article will make it much easier for you to make a decision.

What is a table saw good for?

Table saws are good for cutting straight and angled lines, and make smoother cuts on both small and long planks. Table saws are used by professionals and DIYers alike.

Projects that require a precise cut will be better accomplished with a table saw than with other cutting power tools or handsaws.

The bench saw is a versatile cutting tool that can be expanded with a variety of woodworking jigs for even more applications.
Recommended: Check out my YouTube channel to see all the woodworking jigs i have made for my table saw.

How much does a table saw cost?

The cost of a table saw varies according to its type and specifications. Portable table saws are less expensive than stationary table saws.

A decent machine for a small portable table saw can be found for a small budget ranging from $250 to $500. Professional stationary table saws start at $1000 and can cost several tens of thousands of dollars.

Prices for small portables have recently dropped due to the various brands offering table saws. As a result, a good quality bench saw has become quite affordable.

A table saw may take a bite out of your budget, but it does have some advantages. You can save money by cutting your plywood sheets yourself, instead of spending money at the lumberyard where you buy your wood.

Make the bill yourself and multiply the price to have the wood cut at the sawmill by the number of times you make a purchase. Add the price of an average table saw, and you will see that you have earned back the purchase price of your table saw in no time. Also, keep in mind that table saws can last 5 years and more. This means that the older it gets, the cheaper and more cost-effective a table saw will be.

Before buying a table saw, you should think carefully about your investment. The next part of this article will provide you with information that will help you do this.

Is a table saw worth it - Portable table saw
Is a table saw worth it? – Portable table saw
Is a table saw worth it - Stationairy table saw
Is a table saw worth it? – Stationary table saw

Is a table saw worth it?

If you’re not sure whether a table saw is worth buying, thinking about a few questions can help you find the answer. To help you with that, I have listed the most important questions here. I’ll discuss them in more detail in this section:

  • Do I need a table saw, or do I just want it?
  • Is the table saw attractive, or just the price?
  • Can the purchase be postponed for a while?
  • Is there a less expensive option?
  • How often will I use the table saw?
  • Can I borrow a table saw from someone?
  • Can I pay for it?
  • Will there be a sale soon?
  • What is the quality of the table saw?
  • Do I already have a tool that can do the same thing?

All these questions can be divided into three large groups, the reason why you want to buy a table saw, the purpose, and the price you have to pay for it.

The reason why you want to buy a table saw

Do I need a table saw, or do I just want it?
Think about whether a bench saw is really necessary. If so, it will be an important factor in your decision. If it’s just something nice to have, reconsider your purchase.

Is the table saw attractive, or just the price?
Discounts can be nice, but they shouldn’t be the most important factor in buying something. If you bought something like $500 for only $400, you didn’t actually save $100, but you spent $400.

Can the purchase be postponed for a while?
If your purchase is not really urgent, it is better to give yourself a few weeks to a month to think about it before you buy the table saw. In the meantime, you may change your mind, find a better alternative, or simply don’t want the table saw anymore.

The Purpose

Is there a table saw alternative?
A bench saw is not cheap, especially if you want a professional table saw. If you are a beginner and want to get your hands on a professional table saw, you should start with a portable table saw.

How often will I use the table saw?
If you will be using the table saw on a daily or weekly basis, then it is a responsible purchase. However, if you need a bench saw for just one project, it can be an expensive and irresponsible purchase.

Can I borrow a table saw from someone?
If you only need a table saw for a single project, it might be a good idea to check with family or friends to see if you can borrow their bench saw. Also, find out if there is no possibility to rent a table saw in your area.

Price

Can I pay for it?
If you can’t pay cash, reconsider the purchase, especially if it’s an unnecessary item. It would be crazy to spend your last money on the table saw when there may be much cheaper, and more affordable for you, alternatives.

Will there be a sale soon?
Keep an eye on sales or wait for days like Black Friday, for example. Also, listen in the store where you buy all your tools or an item goes on sale. Who knows, they might even hold the bench saw for you until that date.

What is the quality of the table saw?
Search for reviews and see what others think of the bench saw you had in mind. Sometimes you come to know things that may be unfavorable to you. Then don’t be afraid to abandon your first idea and look for the table saw that suits you better.

Do I already have a tool that can do the same thing?
There are many tools that can do about the same as a table saw, and you may have one of these in your workshop. If a table saw is not really necessary yet, you may be able to continue with an alternative tool for a while.

Table saw or circular saw

A table saw is not cheap. Alternatively, a circular saw can be a good table saw alternative if your budget doesn’t allow you to buy a table saw. Not only are the costs a lot lower, a circular saw also takes up less space in a small workshop.

I recommend my previously written article “When to Use a Circular Saw” If you want to learn more about the circular saw and see if the circular saw is a good option for you.

Table saw vs miter saw

You may be thinking, hey, a table saw looks a lot as a miter saw, why not buy a miter saw. Well, they both have a round saw blade, but they are slightly different from each other.

A table saw can make long cuts in the length of the wood, while a miter saw is ideal for shortening long boards or cutting moldings in miter.

Recently, I wrote the article “Should I Buy A Table Saw Or Miter Saw First”. I suggest you read that article, and maybe you’ll get enough information from it to give you a tailor-made answer to your question, “is a table saw worth it?”

How to choose a table saw?

To make the best choice when you want to buy a table saw, you need to be well-versed in the table saw you are using. That is why in this section, I go over the most important points of attention that you can look at when you compare table saws.

I can also recommend my article “5 Affordable Table Saws For A Woodworking Beginner + Checklist”. That’s a handy guide that helps you find out which table saw is perfect for you and where you can compare prices. Be sure to check out this article.

Motor

When it comes to table saws, one of the most important features is motor power. If your table saw is underpowered for the job, cutting will be more difficult and may even result in burn marks on the wood. As a result, the more horsepower your saw has, the better.

The available voltage can also be used to estimate the motor power potential.
For wood of 2 inches (ca. 5 cm) or less, a 2 hp motor is powerful enough. For wood from 3 inches (ca. 8 cm) thick, a motor between 3 hp and 5 hp is best.

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Drive types

Aside from the motor’s power, another important factor to consider is how power is transferred from the motor to the saw blade. Table saws have two drive options: direct drive and belt drive.

Direct drive

As one might expect, the blade on this type of table saw is directly connected to the motor via gears. This implies that there will be little to no power loss. Because of their small size, direct drive motors are commonly found on portable table saws.

The vibration produced by this method is less than that of a belt-driven table saw. Furthermore, there is no risk of belt wear or breakage.

Belt drive

A belt drive motor has a V-belt and pulley system that helps transfer power to the blade. Although some power is lost in the process, these saws are made to cut through thicker pieces of wood.

This type of table saw is usually much more powerful, makes less noise, and will also collect less dust around the motor because it is further away from the saw blade. On the other hand, this type is often slightly more expensive and can cause greater kickback.

The different types of table saws

Table saws are classified into two types: portable table saws and stationary table saws.
As a result, there are numerous types to choose from. I’ll go over each of these options briefly in this section.

Portable table saws

These portable table saws are made in a more compact form and with a smaller motor of about 2 hp to ensure that they are portable. They are significantly lighter than stationary table saws and typically use direct drive. Portable table saws are classified into three types:

Bench top Table saw
These table saws are small and light, making them easy to transport by one person. These table saws are intended for light work. They lack a stand and transport wheels, so they must be placed on the floor or on a workbench.

Compact table saws
Compact table saws are very similar to benchtop table saws. They have a lightweight design with a direct drive motor. In addition, they come with stands. Although this type bears many similarities to full-size table saws, their tearing capacity is relatively smaller.

Workshop saws
These are best for construction site contractors. In addition to being portable, these table saws are much sturdier than table saws and compact table saws. They are more suitable for heavy-duty work as they have more powerful direct-drive motors.

Stationary Table Saws

Stationary table saws are typically larger and more robust. They are not portable due to their size and weight.
These machines outperform portable table saws in terms of power and accuracy. They use a belt-drive motor as a drive. While portable saws typically have aluminum tables, stationary saws frequently have cast iron tables. Stationary table saws are classified into three types:

Contractor Saws
Saws for Contractors
Contractor table saws are ideal for professional use because they have large belt-driven outboard induction motors. They are not portable due to their heavy weight.

Hybrid Saws
This type is a cross between contractor and cabinet saws.

Cabinet saws
The most powerful table saws on this list are cabinet saws. They are strong, long-lasting, and can withstand heavy loads. They are extremely accurate and have a powerful motor rated between 3 and 5 horsepower.

Is a table saw worth it – conclusion

If you ask me, “is a table saw worth it?”, I have to say that there is no one-sized answer to this question.
It all depends on how you personally will use this machine, how much you will use it, what your budget is, and many other factors.

The information in this article should make you think and make an informed decision.
Use the questions in this article, as well as the information about the different possibilities of the table saw, and you will undoubtedly find the answer to your question.


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I hope this information answered your question “is a table saw worth it”, and that this blog inspires you.

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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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